Reptile and Amphibian Advocacy currently contributes to several research projects within the province. A lot of our research is done on a volunteer basis alongside larger organizations, with some consulting currently being done for Georgian Bay Land Trust and Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour. This involves property surveys and inventories to find and identify at-risk herptile species and more!
Learn below about some of the projects that we are currently involved in!
Map of Highway 15 observtions
Reptile and Amphibian Advocacy conducted a road survey in June of 2017 after observing several DOR (dead on road) Gray Ratsnakes (Pantherophis spiloides) along a 3.4km stretch of Highway 15 - just north of Kingston, Ontario. Survey results: 5 DOR Gray Ratsnakes, 1 Alive, 1 DOR Eastern Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum t.), 2 Alive Eastern Ribbonsnakes (Thamnophis sauritus) and 1 Alive Eastern Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis s.).
Two weeks prior, 8 DOR Gray Ratsnakes were observed on this small stretch of highway. The total was now up to 13 individuals. Ratsnakes are listed as both a threatened and endangered species here in Ontario. The acts protecting this at-risk species are supposed to offer protection of individuals and their habitat. Evidently, this is not the case in this particular stretch. Photos and coordinates of each DOR were collected. Kari at Eco-Kare International graciously volunteered to compile these coordinates and send a report to the Ministry of Transportation (MTO), in hopes that mitigation measures will be put in place to reduce the amount of snakes hit on this highway. This data is now being featured as a case study in the new Wildlife On Roads handbook by Kari E. Gunson and Dr. Frederick W. Schueler.
In 2018 we were contacted by Canadian Wildlife Federation. Learning about our work on Highway 15 the previous year, we were asked by them to continue surveys for turtles and snakes on the highway from Kingston north to Portland - as they were surveying from Ottawa south to Portland. In 5 surveys, we ended up finding 12 DOR turtles and 6 DOR snakes. In 2019, MTO will be installing new eco-passages. The data from these surveys are valuable, as we can identify hotspots of road mortality, which can then hopefully be mitigated.
We plan on conducting more surveys of Highway 15 in 2019!
Searching for Eastern Musk Turtles (Sternotherus odoratus)
Reptile and Amphibian Advocacy has contributed to property surveys and inventories for species-at-risk (SAR) reptiles and amphibians. These observations are crucial for organizations such as land trusts or conservancy's as these species receive government protection, which can aid in solidifying grants and donations to help acquire or manage land.
Such as the case with Georgian Bay Land Trust's newly expanded Dattels Reserve. We surveyed this property in June of 2018, finding 4 SAR herptiles. The entire island has since been donated to the land trust, forever protecting these species!
This year we are honoured to be contributing to GBLT's Tadenac Conservation Initiative in partnership with Blazingstar Environmental; -"a 5,400-acre protected area of pristine wilderness south of Twelve Mile Bay. Containing some of the highest biodiversity in the Georgian Bay region, this area provides an important refuge for numerous species and a critical link in coastal habitat corridors."
In 2017 we contributed to two property surveys for the Land Conservancy for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington. On these surveys we observed a Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) and Northern Ribbonsnakes (Thamnophis s. septentrionalis). These species are listed as threatened and special concern respectively. Contact us if your organization is interested in having us out to survey your property!